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Count. What is the matter?
Clo. Nay, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort; your son will not be killed so soon as I thought he would.
Count. Why should he be killed ?
Clo. So say I, Madam, if he run away, as I hear he does: the danger is in standing to't; that's the loss of men, though it be the getting of children. Here they come, will tell you more: for my part, I only hear, your son was run away. [Exit CLOWN.
Enter HELENA and two GENTLEMEN.
1 Gen. Save you, good Madam.
Hel. Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.
2 Gen. Do not say so.
Count. Think upon patience.—'Pray you, gentlemen,-
I have felt so many quirks of joy, and grief,
That the first face of neither, on the start,
Can woman me unto't :- Where is my son, I pray you ?
2 Gen. Madam, he's gone to serve the duke of Florence:
We met him thitherward ; from thence we came,
And, after some despatch in hand at court,
Thither we bend again.
Hel. Look on his letter, madam; here's my passport.
[Reads.] When thou canst get the ring upon my finger, which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body, that I am father too, then call me husband: but in such a then I write a never. This is a dreadful sentence.
Count. Brought you this letter, gentlemen ?
1 Gen. Ay, madam;
And, for the contents' sake, are sorry for our pains.
Count. I prythee, lady, have a better cheer;
If thou engrossest all the griefs* are thine,
Thou robb'st me of a moiety. He was my son;
But I do wash his name out of my blood,
And thou art all my child.-Towards Florence is he?
2 Gen. Ay, Madam.
Count. And to be a soldier ?
2 Gen. Such is his noble purpose : and, believe't,
The duke will lay upon him all the honour
That good convenience claims.
Count. Return you thither?
1 Gen. Ay, Madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.
Hel. [Reads.] Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France. 'Tis bitter.
Count. Find you that there?
Hel. Ay, Madam.
1 Gen. 'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which
His heart was not consenting to.
Count. Nothing in France, until he have no wife!
There's nothing here, that is too good for him,
But only she; and she deserves a lord,
That twenty such rude boys might tend upon,
And call her hourly, mistress. Who was with him ?
1 Gen. A servant only, and a gentleman Which I have some time known.
Count. Parolles, was't not ?
1 Gen. Ay, my good lady, he.
Count. A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.
My son corrupts a well-derived nature
With his inducement.
1 Gen. Indeed, good lady,
The fellow has a deal of that, too much,
Which holds him much to have.*
Count. You are welcome, gentlemen.
I will entreat you, when you see my son,
To tell him, that his sword can never win
The honour that he loses : more I'll entreat you
Written to bear along.
2 Gen. We serve you, Madam,
In that and all your worthiest affairs.
Count. Not so, but as we changet our courtesies.
Will you draw near ? [Exeunt COUNTESS and GENTLEMEN.
Hel. Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.
Nothing in France, until he has no wife !
Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France,
Then hast thou all' again. Poor lord ! is't I
That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the none-sparing war ? and is it I
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets ? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,
Fly with false aim; move the still-piercing air,
That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord !
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff, that do hold him to it;
And, though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so affected : better 'twere,
I met the ravin. lion when he roar'd
With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere
That all the miseries, which nature owes,
Were mine at once : No, come thou home, Rousillon,
Whence honour but of $ danger wins a scar,
As oft it loses all; I will be gone :
My being here it is, that keeps thee hence:
Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although
The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels officed all : I will be gone;
That pitiful rumour may report my flight,
To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day!
For, with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away.
[Exit. SCENE III.-Florence. Before the DUKE's Palace. Flourish. Enter the DUKE OF FLORENCE, BERTRAM, LORDS,
Officers, Soldiers, and others.
Duke. The general of our horse thou art; and we,
Great in our hope, lay our best love and credence,
Upon thy promising fortune.
Ber. Sir, it is
A charge too heavy for my strength ; but yet
We'll strive to bear it for your worthy sake,
To the extreme edge of hazard.
Duke. Then go thou forth;
And fortune play upon thy prosperous helm,
As thy auspicious mistress!
Ber. This very day,
Great Mars, I put myself into thy file:
Make me but like my thoughts; and I shall prove
A lover of thy drum, hater of love.
[Exeunt. SCENE IV.-Rousillon. A Room in the COUNTESS's Palace.
Enter COUNTESS and STEWARD.
Count. Alas! and would you take the letter of her ?
Might you not know, she would do as she has done,
By sending me a letter ? Read it again.
Stew. I am Saint Jaques' pilgrim, thither gone;
Ambitious love hath so in me offended,
That bare-foot plod I the cold ground upon,
With sainted vow my faults to have amended.
Write, write, that, from the bloody course of war,
My dearest master, your dear son may hie ;
Bless him at home in peace, whilst I from far,
His name with zealous fervour sanctify :
His taken labours bid him me forgive;
I, his despiteful Juno, sent him forth
From courtly friends, with camping foes to live,
Where death and danger dog the heels of worth :
He is too good and fair for death and me;
Whom I myself embrace, to set him free.
Count. Ah, what sharp stings are in her mildest words !
Rinaldo, you did never lack advice* so much,
As letting her pass so; had I spoke with her,
I could have well diverted her intents,
Which thus she hath prevented.
Stew. Pardon me, Madam:
If I had given you this at over-night,
She might have been o'erta’en; and yet she writes,
Pursuit would be in vain.
Count. What angel shall
Bless this unworthy husband ? he cannot thrive,
Unless her prayers, whom Heaven delights to hear,
And loves to grant, reprieve him from the wrath
Of greatest justice. -Write, write, Rinaldo,
To this unworthy husband of his wife;
Let every word weigh heavy of her worth,
That he does weigh too light: my greatest grief,
Though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
Despatch the most convenient messenger :-
When, haply, he shall hear that she is gone,
He will return; and hope I may, that she,
Hearing so much, will speed her foot again,
Led hither by pure love: which of them both
Is dearest to me, I have no skill in sense
To make distinction :-Provide this messenger :
My heart is heavy, and mine age is weak;
Grief would have tears, and sorrow bids me speak.
SCENE V.-Without the Walls of Florence. A tucket afar off. Enter an old WIDOW of Florence, DIANA,
VIOLENTA, MARIANA, and other Citizens. Wid. Nay, come; for if they do approach the city, we shall lose all the sight.
Dia. They say, the French count has done most honourable service.
Wid. It is reported that he has taken their greatest commander; and that with his own hand he slew the duke's brother. We have lost our labour; they are gone a contrary way: hark: you may know by their trumpets.
Mar. Come, let's return again, and suffice ourselves with the report of it. Well, Diana, take heed of this French earl : the honour of a maid is her name; and no legacy is so rich as honesty.
Wid. I have told my neighbour, how you have been solicited by a gentleman his companion.
Mar. I know that knave; hang him! one Parolles: a filthy officer he is in those suggestions* for the young earl.-Beware of them, Diana; their promises, enticements, oaths, tokens, and all these engines of lust, are not the things they go under:f many a maid hath been seduced by them; and the misery is, example, that so terrible shows in the wreck of maidenhood, cannot for all that dissuade succession, but that they are limed with the twigs that threaten them. I hope, I need not to advise you further; but, I hope, your own grace will keep you where you are, though there were no further danger known, but the modesty which is Dia. You shall not need to fear me. * Temptations.
+ (The names of.) VOL. II.
Enter HELENA, in the dress of a Pilgrim. Wid. I hope so. Look, here comes a pilgrim: I know she will lie at my house: thither they send one another: I'll question her. God save you, pilgrim! Whither are you bound?
Hel. To Saint Jaques le grand.
Where do the palmers lodge, I do beseech you ?
Wid. At the Saint Francis here, beside the port.
Hel. Is this the way ?
Wid. Ay, marry, is it -Hark you ! [A march afar off.
They come this way:- If you will tarry, holy pilgrim,
But till the troops come by,
I will conduct you where you shall be lodged;
The rather, for, I think, I know your hostess
As ample as myself.
Hel. Is it yourself?
Wid. If you shall please so, pilgrim.
Hel. I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
Wid. You came, I think from France ?
Hel. I did so.
Wid. Here you shall see a countryman of yours,
That has done worthy service.
Hel. His name, I pray you.
Dia. The count Rousillon; Know you such a one ?
Hel. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him :
His face I know not.
Dia. Whatsoe'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
As 'tis reported, for* the king had married him
Against his liking: Think you it is so ?
Hel. Ay, surely, mere the truth ;t I know his lady.
Dia. There is a gentleman, that serves the count,
Reports but coarsely of her,
Hel. What's his name?
Dia. Monsieur Parolles.
Hel. O, I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth
Of the great count himself, she is too mean
To have her name repeated; all her deserving
Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examined.
Dia. Alas, poor lady!
'Tis a hard bondage, to become the wife
Of a detesting lord.
Wid. A right good creature: wheresoe'er she is,
Her heart weighs sadly; this young maid might do her
A shrewd turn, if she pleased.
Hel. How do you mean?
May be, the amorous count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose.
+ The entire truth.